United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Petitioner's
pro se Motion to Alter or Amend, filed pursuant to Rule 59(e)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 6).
was convicted in this Court, pursuant to a written guilty
plea, of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, and this
Court subsequently sentenced Petitioner to a 151-month prison
sentence. Petitioner appealed, and the Fourth Circuit
affirmed his conviction and sentence. On November 16, 2018,
Petitioner filed the underlying motion to vacate, set aside,
or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, raising two
ineffective assistance of counsel claims. (Doc. No. 1). On
January 28, 2019, this Court denied and dismissed
Petitioner's motion to vacate. (Doc. No. 4). On February
21, 2019, Petitioner filed the pending motion to alter or
amend, pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (Doc. No. 6).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
regard to motions to alter or amend a judgment under Rule
59(e), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit has stated:
A district court has the discretion to grant a Rule 59(e)
motion only in very narrow circumstances: “(1) to
accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to
account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to
correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest
Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Collison v. Int'l Chem. Workers
Union, 34 F.3d 233, 236 (4th Cir. 1994)).
Furthermore, “Rule 59(e) motions may not be used to
make arguments that could have been made before the judgment
was entered.” Id. Indeed, the circumstances
under which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted are so limited
that “[c]ommentators observe ‘because of the
narrow purposes for which they are intended, Rule 59(e)
motions typically are denied.'” Woodrum v.
Thomas Mem'l Hosp. Found., Inc., 186 F.R.D. 350, 351
(S.D. W.Va. 1999) (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R.
Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)).
has not shown the existence of the limited circumstances
under which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted. That is,
Petitioner's motion does not present evidence that was
unavailable when he filed his motion to vacate, nor does his
motion stem from an intervening change in the applicable law.
Furthermore, Petitioner has not shown that a clear error of
law has been made, or that failure to grant the motion would
result in manifest injustice to him. See Hill, 277
F.3d at 708. Rather, in his motion Petitioner merely
reasserts the same or similar arguments he made in support of
his original motion to vacate. Petitioner also complains that
he was not allowed to file a Reply before the Court ruled on
his motion to vacate. A Section 2255 petitioner does not have
the absolute right to file a Reply to a Response by the
Government. See Molina v. United States, No.
W-09-CR-216(3), 2013 WL 12234022, at *1 (W.D. Tex. July 26,
2013) (“While Rule 5(d) of the Rules Government §
2255 Proceedings for the United States District Court permits
a petitioner to file a reply brief, no court has held that
Rule 5(d) gives a Movant an absolute right to file a reply
before the Court rules on the Movant's §
on the foregoing reasons, the Court will deny
Petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend. IT IS,
THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
(1) Petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend, (Doc. No. 6),
(2) The Court finds that the Petitioner has not made a
substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right.
See generally 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); see
also Miller-El v. Cockrell537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003)
(in order to satisfy § 2253(c), a “petitioner must
demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district
court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
or wrong”) (citing Slack v. McDaniel 529 U.S.
473, 484-85 (2000). Petitioner has failed to demonstrate both
that this Court's dispositive procedural rulings are
debatable, and that his Motion to Vacate states a debatable
claim of the denial of a constitutional right. Slack v.
McDaniel529 U.S. 473, 484-85 (2000). As a result, the